As the hospitality industry struggles to mitigate the massive loss of revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of hotel owners are filing lawsuits to force their property insurance providers to cover their financial casualties.
Meantime, state and federal lawmakers are considering legislation that would mandate U.S. insurance companies pay for business losses related to COVID-19.
Such a payout could surpass $600 billion, reported Best’s Insurance in May.
American Property Casualty Insurance Association, a trade group, puts the payouts even higher. In June, the association reportedly estimated payouts to would cost insurers $255 billion to $431 billion a month.
The amounts are not sustainable and would ultimately make many insurers insolvent, say insurance industry experts.
Hotel owners say they deserve payouts because they’ve paid premiums for years to cover high-loss scenarios such as the one they’re facing now.
In almost every case, insurers are refusing to pay, saying policies exclude losses caused by a viral plague or COVID-19 has not caused any physical damage to hotel properties that result in a stoppage of business.
It’s fixing to be an epic battle.
In this episode of Lodging Leaders, we examine the issue of business interruption insurance for hotels negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
We feature Sanjay Patel, CEO of MHG Hotels in Indianapolis who has filed a lawsuit against his insurance provider; Robert Zarco, a partner at the law firm Zarco Einhorn Salkowski & Brito in Miami who specializes in litigating business interruption insurance claims on behalf of business owners; Gregory Riehle, a lawyer and hospitality consultant and former CEO of the Resort Hotel Association, a hotel insurance group; and Robert Hartwig, Ph.D., a clinical associate professor and director of finance at the Center for Risk and Uncertainty Management at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business who’s co-authored a white paper about the un-insurability of businesses affected by viral pandemics.
Resources and Links
Ginny Morrison of Evanston, Illinois, is a 33-year veteran of Spire Hospitality, a hotel management company with a portfolio that spans coast-to-coast. As vice president of sales and marketing, Morrison saw the coronavirus pandemic decimate the meetings business. More than a year later, she’s witnessing a comeback as small-meeting planners are actively booking events for the last half of 2021 and beyond. As public health agencies expand COVID-19 vaccination programs across the U.S. and states ease up on public-gathering restrictions designed to keep the virus at bay, the hotel industry is seeing small meetings begin a comeback. In Episode 317, Long Live Lodging covers the state of the small-meetings sector and how hotels can grab their share of the meetings business during and post-pandemic. This report is part of our ongoing coverage about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the hospitality industry.
The Hunter Hotel Investment Conference will be the industry’s first large event to be held during the coronavirus pandemic. The Atlanta event will be a hybrid format of in-person and virtual access, also an industry first. Lee Hunter, chairman of the conference, knows the level of expectation is high among other conference planners as well as industry professionals eager to network after more than a yearlong hiatus. Episode 316 of Lodging Leaders podcast features Hunter as he tells what it takes to re-launch the industry’s conference circuit amid the COVID-19 outbreak.